- Published on Saturday, 11 February 2012 00:01 Robin Jenkins
1/48 SPAD XIII Late Version
Catalogue # 04657
I seem to writing a lot about SPAD fighter aircraft recently, be it in book or kit form. This from someone who is not over-enamoured with the French-built fighter series (apart from the wonderful-looking SPAD A.2 and the cannon-armed, cumbersome SPAD XII) and who has openly expressed his preference for aircraft from the Nieuport stable – unlike our own editor, who loves all of the ungainly flat-nosed fighters! Ah, well, it is the lot of the reviewer to deal with what he is actually sent....
So, in the last year or so, I have reviewed 2 excellent kits from Eduard of the SPAD XIII, a 1/72 SPAD XIII Early Version as a Weekend Edition release and a 1/48 SPAD XIII ProfiPACK Early Version. The one model we missed out on, which I discovered only after writing the 1/48th model review, was the 1/48 SPAD XIII Late Version, which I have subsequently heard many good things about. The differences between early and late versions are minimal but do add a touch of variety to the aircraft and SPAD fans can spot the differences right away (below).
Credit and copywrite: http://www.13thbombsquadron.org/historicplanes/spad13.jpg
Now sitting in front of me is the missing kit, but not in the format I was expecting. Revell have licensed the "Weekend Edition" of Eduard's SPAD XIII Late Version and issued it as one of their own kits, complete with new decals. The giveaway is the "Eduard" branding in the centre of the major sprues.
Having written a major review on Eduard's original, there is not much more to add to my original comments on the sprues. There are 3 of them, all in the same shade of tan as the Eduard originals. The first one (below) holds the upper fuselage decking with tailplanes, elevators, fin and rudder, interior details, lower nose panel, exhaust, undercarriage and alternative airscrews styles together with the disappointing machine guns.
A close-up of the upper fuselage decking (above) confirms the same high standard of moulding as seen previously. The second sprue (below) holds the main fuselage and wing structures along with wheels, alternative front cowlings and cowling grills (some of which are for early production variants). Again, moulding of the wings is really good and shows a real understanding of the subject.
Above is shown the final sprue, holding all of the remainder of the parts, including all of the struts, joystick, tubular gunsights and aileron linkages. I commented previously of the good "quality feel" I experienced in examining the kit and that feeling returned, particularly with the fine detail of many of the pieces on this sprue.
The next photo (below) shows the selection of transparencies for the differing styles of windshield. Unfortunately, Revell do not indicate which version of windscreen is appropriate for which aircraft, an annoying problem that is creeping into WW1 models at present. I believe that the windscreen style 3, the plain front version, may be correct for the French aircraft in the markings options.
The final photo shows the decal sheet (above), which is of very good quality, with excellent registration, good colour density and representation of the national marking colours. There are 2 marking options:
S.18869, Lieutenant J.M. Swaab, 22nd Aero Squadron, 2nd Pursuit Group, USAS, France, Autumn 1918Unknown aircraft, Lieutenant Rene Fonck, Escadron de Chasse 1 / 2 Cigognes, France 1918
I was delighted to see one of Fonck's aircraft represented. The French nation remembers and cherishes pilots from that time such as George Guynemer, Charles Nungesser, Maurice Boyau and Georges Madon. Fonck was a better pilot than all of them, shot down more enemy aircraft than any other French pilot (in 1918 alone, ignoring all of his earlier victories) and he was never shot down or even injured by the enemy – indeed, only a single enemy bullet was ever noted to have hit his aircraft in all of the war. So why is he not accorded the fame of his fellow pilots? Well, Fonck was a loner, a cold-calculating, mathematically-driven aerial killer who did not fit with the élan, flair and bonhomie expected of a French aviator by his nation. No matter, he has always fascinated me.
So What Do We Think?
A really nice licensed kit, admittedly not of my favoured ProfiPACK standard version, but because it is now under the Revell banner, it will be much more widely available and hopefully will entice more modellers into the realm of WW1 aircraft; they will not be disappointed with a model of this quality.
An excellent purchase
Our thanks to Revell UK for the review sample. Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For further information visit www.revell.eu